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Tuesday, January 31, 2012 Has Time On Their Hands - 3250mm???

With the advent of the mirrorless compact interchangeable lens cameras. photographers are going to have a lot of fun. Evidently the Nikon 1 V1/J1s have a 2.7X crop factor. This effectively more than doubles the length of any SLR lens with the addition of the FT-1 F-mount adapter.

Evidently had the opportunity to test this out. The results are fascinating. testing 600mm f/4 & V1+FT-1

Monday, January 30, 2012

Nikon's "I AM" Campaign - A Work Of Genius.

Nikon's ad campaign "I AM NIKON" is pretty popular. With all sorts of "I AM - INNOVATION, CREATIVITY, ETC ETC ETC..." slogans, it makes people who use Nikon see the "I AM" campaign their own. It is a stroke of genius as I would say. I shoot Nikon. It's been my camera of choice for as long as I can remember. I don't think I'll ever switch from Nikon at all. For this, Nikon has banked on people's perceptions of the brand. It's the "we're accessible to YOU!" impression that Nikon gives off. They still have kept their "At The Heart Of The Image" slogan, but pairing it up with the "I AM" really gives the marketing campaign that one-two punch.

Canon has always tried to cater to the "I want to be special" crowd with their "Capture the Moment" campaign. Somehow it doesn't strike me as personally as the Nikon campaign. I will never go Canon. I doubt that I'll ever even think of switching brands any longer. Nikon has all the lenses and bodies that I'll ever need to further my photography. So hence the reason I say:

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Saturday, January 28, 2012

"Look To The Bridge"

Books for the Photographer's Camera-Bag

Photography also involves reading books: lots of books. The books I have accumulated involve my chosen field of wildlife photography and photography technique as well as books about photography business. These books are great starters for your photography library.

The first book is one book in a series on Digital Photography by Scott Kelby. He is a well known photography and president of the National Association of Photoshop Professionals. This is a great book to focus on technique in photography. He covers all sort of technique, lighting and other photographic related subjects. It's probably one of the best books written on digital photography, get the book, better yet, get the whole set. I plan to.

This is a must have in your camera-bag. Digital Field Guides for your camera are essential. Unless you have a photographic memory, you probably have been out and you have to figure out a certain obscure function. With this book you have a manual that's quick and easy. If you want to find a certain function, just flip to the index and then go to the page which is illustrated with great big photos of the menu system. Nikon, Sony, and Canon are covered in these books.

Dane Sanders is a wedding photographer and a motivational speaker. And he has delved into the psychology of the photography business and how to create a successful business by utilizing your strengths and personal niche to create a unique service to photography clients. These two books: The Fast Track Photographer and the Fast Track Photographer - Business Plan are a great way of mapping out your career as a professional photographer.

Thursday, January 26, 2012


n' Flowers. Going through a bunch of my old photos...

I must have a major fascination with ducks.

The flower that I posted up: I have no idea what kind of flower it is. If anyone knows what it is, please let me know.

I also enjoy photographing clouds.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Red Tulip Pair

This is just in case I don't get a chance to put something up today. Have to run into Guildford for a family appointment so enjoy this image.

Happy shooting.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Welcome to the Wonderful World of Apps

After dipping my feet into the world of having an iPhone 4s, I've been immersed in apps. These things are great and if you pick the right ones for nature and landscape photography, they're very informative too. I haven't dipped into podcasts yet, but rest assured if I run across one that I feel is worth a look, I'll post it up here and let you all know about it. In the meantime, here's a view of my menu on my iPhone 4s. Everyone has the first page, so I'll start with the second.

I'll go into talking about them in other posts. Since I've had the iPhone 4s for less than a week, I'll just say "Let me get some time to get used to all the new features..." and this troglodyte will get around to assessing at a time.

Happy Shooting.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Using A Hotshoe Flash

When most people think of a flash, they think of the onboard camera flash: the little pop-up flash that comes with most lower-end semi-pro and consumer grade DSLRs. Unfortunately it's not the most flattering flash that you could use for your photography. When you use a pop-up flash, the light is glaring, skin tones are faded and you end up with "glowing red demon eyes". If you were shooting stills for a horror film, that would work out just perfectly. However since you're not...well...not so good.

The next photo was taken with a SB-600 hotshoe flash. Those are those fancy looking light things people stick on top of their DSLRs. We usually say that they make us look like we know what we're doing. The next shot was taken with the light pointed right at the subject (the angel on top of the tree). This is just as harsh as the "pop-up flash", although you can control the output of the hotshoe flash to make the output less harshly lit. You see sharply pronounced shadows on the wall from the flash.

The third photo has me pointing the flash output up at a 20-degree angle up from the subject, which results in the photo being less harsh than the resulting directly targeted flash. Note the shadows are more diffused.

The fourth photo has me pointing the flash output up at a 45 degree angle from the subject. Here you start to see some depth to the image and less of a harsh glare on the subject. You see much less shadow on the wall in this photo.

Indoors most photographers use a 90 degree angle to the subject when they are using a hotshoe flash. This bounces the light off the ceiling and thus diffuses it so that the shadows are nearly non-existent and the subject in the photo has some depth to it rather than being harshly lit up like the pop-up flash image. This is what is known as the ideal hot-shoe flash image.

When you are doing portraiture, weddings, or event photography, a flash (better yet, several) are an absolute necessity. Since I shoot Nikon, my choices are the SB-600 (now outdated), the SB-700 or the SB-910. I do not recommend the SB-900 since the 900 had overheating issues. These issues have been rectified with the SB-910 and it has become the best remote "commander" flash that Nikon has produced.

If you want to get away from the harsh glare photography that the pop-up flash provides, buy yourself a hotshoe flash. It's probably one (or more; depending on how many flashes you buy) of the singlemost important investments that you could ever make in your photography.

Happy Shooting.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

iPhone Photography - Worth Trying Out (if you have an iPhone)

The iPhone 4s is quite the little multifunction device. As a camera, it definitely is satisfactory. The photos, considering the size of the sensor chip in the camera, are grainy, however the grain isn't very noticeable when you come right down to it.

It definitely is not a DSLR and is not meant to replace my camera. However I do enjoy shooting photography with the iPhone 4s and it's probably one of the best little carry along camera (next to my L11) that I can have around. Not to mention it's primary function is as a phone (making and receiving calls).

As a photographer, I've always enjoyed challenging myself and this iPhone 4s is a definite challenge. Now, I'm not going to ditch my d300s and exclusively become an iPhone photographer. That much is clear. Different gear for different objectives. Here are my three latest shots.

As you can see, it does have a decent range of image reproduction, however you do have to do some tweaking in Photoshop Elements to bring out the tonal quality. But on the whole it's great. I tend to do a little post processing when it comes to iPhone photography as opposed to posting it up directly from in-camera. I find that Photoshop Elements brings out the best in the photography as opposed to the in-camera apps.

I'm looking forward to doing more with iPhone 4s photography. Maybe I'll get myself a gradient filter app. Anyways. Grab your camera or camera phone and get out there and shoot. As always, Happy Shooting.

White Balance and Taking One With a Grey Card.

Yesterday, my wife acquired me another necessary photo-tool. As photographers get more experienced, the less they like to monkey around with their photos in the computer and look more towards doing everything correcly in camera. One of the main problems in photography is the variably changing light in the environment. It becomes necessary to constantly be customizing your white balance in order to get the correct exposure for your photo.

My wife bought the brand of foldable grey cards. Suffice it to say, it folds up like a reflector and I can throw it in my camera backpack or bag and take it with me whereever I go. The accuracy standard for a custom white balance is an 18% reference target.

The way to use a grey card is to set your custom white balance on your camera. I'll show you how I do it for my D300s, works the same for D100, D200, D300 and D300s. The best way to learn how to set your custom white balance is to check your manual for your camera.

1. I first set my custom camera to PRE (Preset) on my WB menu. (photo 1) The easiest way on a D300s is to hit the white balance button on the left hand side and rotate the rear dial (you have a front and a rear dial - one to control shutterspeed, one to control aperture. The rear wheel will control multiple functions when you hit the auxiliary function buttons on the left hand side) until you see PRE on the LCD menu screen to the right of your camera hotshoe. (photo 2).

photo 1

photo 2

2. Secondly you hit the WB button until you see the letters PrE come up to the top left of the PRE (photo). That means the D300s is ready to take a reference shot. Take a shot of your white balance card by holding it in front of the lens. It doesn't need to focus. What the camera is doing is taking a metered reading of the light reflecting back off the card and internally assessing the grey according to algorithms that are too complicated to get into here.

3. When you take a reference shot, the menu LCD display will either tell you "No gd" if your reference shot was unacceptable to take a white balance reading or it will read "Good" if it registered the reference shot. (photo). Then you can proceed to start taking photos.

Keep in mind that if the light changes or you move from your designated area into an area where the light is different, take another reading.

Now, I'm going to go look into finding ways of getting D300s menu system screencaps so that I can put up tutorials. Have fun. Happy Shooting.

1st Shot With iPhone 4s

Ornament Reflection

The first shot. Probably not the best shot, but it's gonna take a little learning curve.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Finally an iPhone User

My wife bought her iPhone 4G last year and all things considered, she's really enjoyed using it. Me: I preferred the "being unreachable by phone" solitude. However at my beloved wife's insistence, I finally caved. My wife bought me the iPhone 4s this evening. The one thing that really attracts me to this iPhone is the 8mp camera which by far is the best megapixel rate of any cameraphone out there. Now I'm not saying that I'm going to dump my D300s. A cameraphonen is still a cameraphone and will never replace my D300s. But for taking snapshots and stuff quickly, a cameraphone becomes very convenient.

Also, there's Siri, but that's a major drain on battery juice as well as data plan minutes. So that will more than likely be used very sparingly. I'm not going to get into the nuts and bolts of this camera. Other tech-geeks do it much better than I do. What I'm going to be doing is doing some practical real-world photography with this iPhone and between my iPhone 4s and my Nikon D300s, you'll be seeing a lot more shots this coming year.

Well...I'm a very happy new iPhone 4s owner now.

Thursday, January 19, 2012


As you may have heard, the United States government has been throwing around the idea of the SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) and (Protect Intellectual Property Act). On the surface it looks like a great idea. I'm all for stopping online piracy and protecting intellectual property. Frankly, I make my living out of my photography and I would love to have my intellectual property from being stolen by those who would try to make money off my efforts. However the problem is that this doesn't protect anybody except for those who have the money and can throw their weight around.

If you were to post up a cityscape for example that were to have a brand-name shoe company billboard in the background, yet were recognized to have done so you would be violating copyright and subject to IP shutdown and an exhorbitant fine. You could be playing a copyrighted song in the background of an instructional video by accident because you didn't remember to shut off the stereo. Little innocent things like this that you don't take notice. Not only that, the law makes you responsible for the copyrighted content that users may put up on your comments page or, let's say, Facebook Wall.

If we take the law to the utter ridiculous, I suppose that Walt Disney could sue all of us wildlife photographers who shoot mallard ducks for copyright infringement because a duck is synonymous with Donald Duck. That might not happen because the logic is so ridiculous that such a case would get thrown out of court (just as when the United States Navy SEALs had to defend their Seal Team 6 logo against Walt Disney who had registered a trademark). After all, nobody messes with Seal Team 6, not even a conglomerate as large as Disney.

Let's have a crackdown on copyright violaters, but not at the expense of those who innocently have violated copyright unknowingly. At this point, until there are some very marked changes in the wording of the legislation, I do not support SOPA/PIPA at all.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

A Bit On The TC-20EIII and A Shout-Out To A Friend.


The TC-20EIII is the newest 2x teleconverter that Nikon has brought out. Now most people know that it probably isn't the wisest thing to put more glass in front of their glass. And most photographers know that it is unwise to put a teleconverter on a zoom lens. The rule of thumb is that teleconverters are for prime lens use only. This is the first teleconverter that Nikon has brought out that is constructed with an aspherical lens. This is meant to reduce lens flare and aberration in the teleconverter and in the resulting image.

With the previous iteration, the TC-20EII, the image quality was absolutely unacceptable. The image quality on the EIII far exceeds the EII by a wide margin. This came as a surprise to a lot of photographers who have had the experience with the previous version of the 2x teleconverter which they roundly denounced as unusable.

As you can see from the shot that I took inside the mall last year (not the most ideal shooting location) with the TC-20EIII, it performs exceedingly well. The image quality at wide open f/5.6 (with the teleconverter) it was crisp on the subject (the little blue line on the glass mall entrance door)

No TC at f/8

TC at f/5.6 (wide open).

It is said that the TC-20EIII seems to be made to fit with the Nikon AF-S 70-200mm f/2.8 VRII and the 300mm f/2.8 VRII. With the 200-400mm f/4, with the wide open aperture at f/8 and a useable aperture sweetspot for sharpness at f/11, that may stretch it's capabilities a bit. With the 600mm f/4 that I plan to get, it will make the 600 a 1200mm f/8 and a manual focus lens at that considering that auto-focus doesn't work well (if at all) at any aperture below f/5.6.

I don't know if I will get the whole trifecta of teleconverters (the TC-14EII, TC-17EII and the TC-20EIII), however I plan to get at least two of them. The TC-14EII for the 600mm and the 20EIII for the 70-200mm f/2.8 at least.

Keep this post bookmarked, because when I acquire this TC-20EIII for my 70-200mm f/2.8 VRII, I will be posting up photos of without TC and with TC comparisons out in the field. And dammit, I'm going to get TGDB (the Green Timbers GBH) once and for all!!!

Also a shout out goes out to my friend, BTV Photography. Brent Veitch. A former school mate of mine from Garibaldi Secondary School, a very talented wildlife photographer who has had his wildlife photos published in the WWF calendar not once but twice. He's a great up and coming photographer who ranks with the best out there.

He has got a new blog up for 2012. BTV Photography at Blogspot. Plus on top of that, I envy his 200-400mm f/4 (version 1), unless he's traded his in for the VRII. And hey, Brent, when I get my 600mm...we need to go out shooting together.

Icy Branches.

Walking home from taking my oldest son to his hockey practice, I see some gorgeous winter scenery.

It was an absolutely gorgeous day with blue sky and bitingly cold too.

The pine branches were completely iced over with a glaze of hardened snow.

As were the branches of the deciduous trees.

Tomorrow I plan to go over to Green Timbers and shoot some landscapes of the lakefront. Look for some more images to crop up on this blog.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Hockey Practice

My son had hockey practice at the Surrey Sports and Recreation Center on Fraser Highway Sunday morning. 8AM start time at the rink. They also had a pickup game.

Getting game-ready

Chris's friend Edward on the perimeter waiting for an opportunity for a shot from the point.

When I get some more of those shots edited, I will post them up on the same blog entry. Looking forward to getting a few more shots next week, unless my wife wants to go see the snowy owls.